For 2006, the LX 470, the largest SUV in Lexus’ line-up, receives a few changes. The engine now has Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i), which increases horsepower from 235 hp to 275 hp, and increases torque from 320 lb-ft to 332 lb-ft. There’s a new front grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, new LED rear combination lights, and a new tire pressure monitoring system.

The heavy-duty but very luxurious LX 470 is Lexus’ version of the rugged Toyota Land Cruiser, a model sold in the U.S. but not available in Canada. That means that the LX can pretty much go anywhere you want to go, regardless of terrain. It also shares the Land Cruiser’s five-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel-drive.

The 4WD system includes anti-lock brakes combined with active traction control (A-TRAC) and vehicle stability control to minimize loss of traction or side-slip. It redistributes torque by applying braking to the slipping wheel and reducing engine power; the effect is similar to having the front and rear differentials locked.

Ride height is controlled by Active Height Control combined with Adaptive Variable Suspension, a driver-controlled system with automatic overrides. The tall LX can be lowered at a standstill for easier entry, and on rough terrain, a flip of the console-mounted switches can raise the front by 40 mm and the rear by 50 mm. The vehicle will automatically raise itself to its “Normal” setting at 5 km/h if started off at low height; if it’s at its highest setting, it will lower itself to “Normal” over 30 km/h. The driver can also select one of four levels of semi-active shock absorber control.

Offered in a single, luxury-packaged model, the LX 470 includes 18-inch alloy wheels, four ventilated brake discs, power tilt and telescopic wheel, front and rear automatic climate control, a Mark Levinson CD system with eleven speakers, wheel-mounted controls, rear audio controls and two sets of headphones, leather interior, ten-way driver and four-way passenger power heated seats, 60/40 fold-and-tumble middle seats, 50/50 split rear bench seat, auto up/down on all windows, auto-dimming mirror, birds-eye maple trim, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, cargo mat, power flip-out rear side windows, privacy glass, power moonroof, towing hitch, roof-mounted spoiler, power folding heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, variable intermittent front wipers, automatic headlamps with washers, fog lamps, and DVD-based navigation system with backup camera.

Options are limited to accessories such as a cargo liner, window visors and spare tire lock, and a rear-seat DVD system.

Despite its size, the LX 470 accelerates quickly and smoothly; this is off-roading with the comfort of one’s living room. The front and second-row seats provide plenty of stretch-out comfort, but the third row of seats is pretty much for short trips or smaller children. Not many luxury vehicles are body-on-frame anymore, but it adds to the LX 470’s excellent wilderness capabilities and towing ability while still providing a supple ride.

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